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February 9, 2023

PSD bill on enhanced powers for inquiry cttees: Refusal to show up for hearings, punishable by jail

The refusal to show up for hearings before parliamentary committees of inquiry represents a misdemeanour and is punishable by 8 days to 3 months in jail, or a fine of RON 10,000, and a three-year ban from holding public office, according to a bill tabled by PSD House lawmaker Oana Florea, Mediafax informs.

Thus, the bill stipulates that “the subpoenaed persons’ refusal to show up for hearings, to provide the information demanded or to make available other documents or means of evidence in their possession, useful for the committee’s activity, is considered the hampering of the process of finding out the truth, represents a misdemeanour, and is punishable by 8 days to 3 months in jail, or a fine of RON 10,000, and a ban from holding public office for a period of 3 years.”

These legal provisions are applicable to any person, the latter having the obligation to go before the committee and to provide it with information.

Thus, according to the bill, the committee of inquiry can subpoena any person who may have knowledge of a deed or circumstance that could be conducive to finding out the truth in the case that is the object of the committee’s activity, and the subpoenaed persons have the obligation to go before the parliamentary committee of inquiry.

The subpoenaed person can answer in writing or send the documents or other means of evidence in its possession by mail only in exceptional cases and with the approval of the inquiry committee, the bill adds.

At the same time, the bill stipulates that the parliamentary inquiry “does not substitute the judicial investigation, the two having different goals and finalities but being able to coexist in the idea of loyal cooperation and collaboration between state institutions, even if they investigate the same segment of reality.”

According to the bill, the inquiry committee can have access to any category of information, including classified information, in line with the law.

Oana Florea, who is also chairwoman of the committee of inquiry into the 2009 presidential elections, pointed out on Monday, at a press conference in which she presented the bill, that she personally undertook this legislative initiative and will present it to her committee colleagues on Tuesday, in order to ask them for a point of view or for endorsement signatures, after which she will introduce the bill in the legislative circuit.

She pointed out that the bill consists in proportion of 80 percent of terms and principles used in the 4 Constitutional Court decisions on the activity of the committee of inquiry into the 2009 elections.

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